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Rivkin last won the day on April 23

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About Rivkin

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    Kirill R.

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  1. I have a split reaction on this one. On the one hand throughout the Taisho and early Showa all major Daimyo collections published more or less complete representation of what they had, and such tachi as in the video above are there in the sales catalogue of Satsuma, they are in Owari Tokugawa collection, they are in Marquis Kuroda exhibition etc. etc. All are curved, unlike the original type, because they don't house special parade blades but more like national treasures from Heian and Kamakura periods. With mounts of gold or in the very least quality gilding. Covered with personal family mons, high class nanako, top class makie. These are probably the most gold-burning items you find in these collections. I don't see anything suggesting these mounts were somehow adopted to some specific standard corresponding to a specific kuge rank. Promotion within court ranks was a norm, were there a need to receive a new set of mounts to mark it, we would first find all the mounts for different ranks in such collections, and more likely gilded than pure gold. But that's not we find there - we see just very few top class mounts with artificially "ancient appearance" and that's it. Parade blades of weird shape is also just not something we see in the Edo period, and nakago here is quite telling. In marriage gift requests there were records for what is being assumed somewhat expensive mounts with the blades whose price suggests its a tsunagi of sorts. I sort of assumed those were just good mounts for circumstances when the blade is of no consequence, but... Kirill R.
  2. A pride of any true collector to popoo someone else's find as an obvious fake. I am sure there is a consideration that such items were used in Edo period, but I am not sure how realistic it is. I think its a great buy for what essentially is showato money, and these things can be quite well made and they are not modern at all. Its also possible to relatively precisely date makie if there is a good photograph. Early Edo will have a tiny bit duller black, some argue it even has a tint of color to it, round makie gold particles, Genroku+ makie will have elongated particles of very bright gold color, Taisho+ tend to be more yellowish by comparison. Etc. Etc. But regarding the Imperial Household koshirae, I have very limited experience. But it tells me a few things - they did use real gold when it was called for on the highest caliber items, they did high quality guilding, were not that much into pure brass as gold replacement. They did not go for exact copies of older styles, the work also often reflects some of the techniques and craftsmanship you see on period's buddhist wares from Kyoto area. I had some discussion whether these could he household koshirae papered to a specific smith, and the general agreement was - its not well researched, there are some clearly Goto pieces, but much of tachi koshirae was probably made by someone local who could have been even outside the "commercial" market, so exact name is not something readily offered. I will throw another curved ball - today you can use any mon you like, but during Taisho 7-5 kiri mon and the kikumon were still more exclusive to the household. That's what you do often see on the household or kuge items. Actually if you have Satsuma sale cathalogue, the first page of sword section has a great image of "real ritual kazari-tachi". Its not an exact copy of old style, you clearly see its adopted many Edo period's elements, and well, its gold. Kirill R.
  3. I can be greatly mistaken, but I think such imitations of Nara to Heian period styles came in vogue during Meiji and even more so in Taisho and early Showa. Quality varies a lot but quite a few are exact copies of early examples. I would check kokuho and bunkazai volumes to see whether this one is an identical copy of one of those. Kirill R.
  4. With signature the window is enough in 80% of cases. You get sugata, signature and example of what the work is. Without signature, I still regularly see blades pretty close to zero polish (just visible contours of hamon) being papered. The papers will be to the average matching school from the period which matches sugata and hamon. You can get something like Yamato Tegai or Uda out of it. Not say sue-Sa. Kirill R.
  5. Thank you! Always love to photograph good pieces, and Ichimonji are the most difficult ones to work with. My photoalbum is pushed back couple of years I am afraid, but my photography technique improves in the meantime. Maybe not my place since its not my money, but I think the condition will not terribly affect the papering chance of the blade. The work is visible, shape is distinctive, if they accept the signature that's it. Kirill R.
  6. These are intriguing mismatches. Not pretending to be an expert, but as personal point: Ko-Mihara vs. Sue-Bizen I would check kissaki size and kasane vs. mihaba, as well as whether ha has distinctive masame (strong point for mihara) or more itame based with ashi (Sue-Bizen). Motomitsu vs. Hokke - same point, is there masame in shinogi ji and ha? Yes tilts towards Hokke. Everything school from Kamakura period can be very close to one another. If the measurements are well within expected for mid-kamakura, then ko-Bizen vs. Aoe vs. Ayanokoji vs. even Rai can be a single feature-based distinction. For the polish, unless its a very high level attribution if kantei features are visible, especially if signed, good to do. Kirill R.
  7. There is NTHK NPO next Sunday (Sept. 13th) in Tokyo, which is a one day affair, compared to multi-month NBTHK process. They will also put the sword's period on the paper. My take - the blade shows rough large feature hada, which is consistent with late Muromachi. Hamon has crab claw-like "choji", which is also more of a Muromachi feature. The shape can't be close to Kambun, likely Tembun to Keicho, and more likely later than early within this range. Stoud blade with uniform curvature and almost uniform width. The nakago finish is more along the lines of the early shinto. Tensho to Keicho is the best fit. This being said, I don't really deal with signatures so it might not fly. However, multi-generational ones from the period are typically given significant allowance for variations if they match the period. Kirill R.
  8. Without comparing the mei, it looks like something from Tensho, probably no later than Keicho period. Even if the mei is not exact to the books I personally would feel a strong possibility of it being real. The signature matches the work, the period. Kirill R.
  9. I missed what was the commotion with Alex's blade, but unfortunately I can guess what it was. I can only speak of my (limited) experience - I did repaper "up", including substantially "up": green, modern NBTHK and NTHK papered blades to higher class attributions. Including modern NBTHK to modern NBTHK, green to modern, modern to NTHK, and NTHK to modern. Without repolish, which is a whole different game altogether. In all cases these were SINGLE attempt successful repaperings. It was not a random, repeated lottery. Obviously there were a lot of failures, especially when photographs were misleading and thus the purchase itself was not as enticing as it seemed. Basically what you deal with is there is a set of kantei features in the blade, which is then multiplied by some table of weights. Which is specific to particular shinsa or sayagaki writer. Different shinsa and different sayagaki writers have very different weights assigned to different points. My observations: Modern NBTHK assigns the score 10 out of 10 to geometric measurements. Kasane for the given mihaba, shape of kissaki etc. The problem with that is existence of well established exceptions where in period with characteristic kasane x we occasionally see a signed and unquestionable sword with kasane 2x. Or a kissaki which is unusually small/large for the period. Or a rather honest copy of something made earlier. Giving geometric measurements weight 10 will box those out. It also means you attribute a lot of blades based on geometry + one more single criteria, for example hada. So you end up with attributions which have "wrong" nakago or boshi, but kasane is right. Example - early Hasebe attribution with NBTHK nearly always begins with the recital that kasane is thin. They will tolerate non-tapered and highly abnormal nakago, they will even tolerate hamon in suguha (and yes, there are signed Hasebe that do pure suguha), they will tolerate hada in fine itame, or lack of masame towards the mune, but they will never tolerate thick kasane. The blade will be send flying to Muromachi schools (Shimada etc.), even if the rest of work is 100% match for Hasebe. They will say its a very good Muromachi copy. I am not saying by any means its wrong - its just a filter they apply. Its their choice. My guess it has much to do with green papers, during which time this filter was NOT applied and this made a lot of judgements subject to large changes. When you apply a very specific number-based filter this brings greater repeatability to your judgements - at the expense of filtering out potentially good candidates based only on their measurements being off. Another problem is that even modern NBTHK do not apply this filter uniformly. It somehow consistently fails for "Kamakura" Masamune, Yukimitsu and others. One does need to speculate - just to read their magazine stating time after time in kantei section "many understandably went for Nambokucho, however as this is a Masamune which knows no equals, Kamakura period it is". Both NTHK give geometry something like 8. If boshi is right, the work is right, nakago is right for school A but kasane is atypical, there is a high probability they will say its A. Or they will find a smith close to A who is known for atypical kasane. So one can take such a blade and almost immediately know that NTHK and NBTHK judgement will be very different. Which one of them is right basically means comparing their set of weights against what one believes to be "right". Its easier to comment those on the case by case basis. Repapering green to modern with an improve in grade is difficult, modern papers are more conservative. But there are a few areas where its not uncommon. Green to lesser known Keicho+ Horikawa+ school names can be spurious. They had great confidence in Horikawa's ability to reproduce Sa, Shizu and others. It is not the level of confidence shared by modern NBTHK. You can get many grades better name out of such repapering. Uda attributions sometimes are spurious. Repapering modern to modern NBTHK with a grade improvement is very challenging because the matrix is similar in both cases. You have to do technical work - do the measurements and confirm the results do match the attribution "you want" or "you believe is right". You have to then guess why it has the attribution it has, what was the kantei point that drove the attribution. You have to then convince yourself this kantei point is not as important as others you see in the blade. You have to convince yourself that to see these points one does not need a microscope, but even a minute observation suffices. And one CAN get a different judgement. To the point of this discussion - one can get good, artistic and even good artistic and early swords from among the mumei blades with Muromachi or even early shinto attributions. Kirill R.
  10. Repapering from NBTHK to NTHK is both straightforward and predictable. Current NBTHK will never paper tanto with thicker kasane to Nambokucho, it is more or less automatically papered to Muromachi, with no regards to other features. Neither of NTHK does that, so if the blade is good and shows clear kantei points to Nambokucho, one will get a Nambokucho judgement. NBTHK green to NBTHK the rules I think are also relatively simple. Green had a lot of optimistic judgements which go down in name, but it also has a large portion of strange random opinions where a good Soshu blade is given a third grade Keicho name in Horikawa+ school. If the blade has thin kasane and it looks like a good Soshu blade, it will repaper high. I attempt modern NBTHK to NBTHK repapering only if the blade matches formal kantei. The current team uses kissaki sori, size, blade sori, kasane as sort of a checkpoint. If they are not a match to period X, there is almost no chance it will paper to X, even if the blade otherwise is 99% match. I think current NBTHK is extremely good in Kamakura blades, but Soshu judgements is a whole different bag of worms. This being said, I did submit a number of high names to see how alternative/random the judgements can be, and the results were diverse. Kirill R.
  11. My first nihonto was a machine made kyu-gunto blade. I've learned with it how to distinguish machine made from gendai, types of army/navy/police swords, and even made I think 10$ when I sold it. So overall a very good purchase for this stage in collecting, I would add also I repapered probably a dozen blades from generic Muromachi attributions to good Nambokucho names. There is a lot of ambiguity in sunnobi tanto attributions from the period. Kirill R.
  12. Rivkin

    Kuniyuki Wakizashi

    Wakizashi, looks like Muromachi, maybe sometime around Bunmei/Onin to Tembun. It would be useful to see details of work to get the school. Kirill R.
  13. Hi Mike, Some of these items look interesting. If you want an advice, could you please make 1 topic per sword, preferrably in something like nihonto branch and put there photographs of fittings+blade - entire blade, nakago, boshi and the most visible portion of hamon-hada. Its quite some work, but some of the pieces are interesting and you will likely get a rather detailed assesment on those. Some decent fittings, tanto which can be late Muromachi sue-seki, late Muromachi Bizen Sukesada... Kirill R.
  14. I think it might be easier to make a guess looking at the whole blade/photo of work. Indeed the carving style is later, and location on the nakago might suggest uchigatana (or is it a wakizashi?). This is one of the signatures which is probably difficult to evaluate without a blade. Kirill R.
  15. During the last 5 years I owned four swords with makers not listed in Meikan. 2 were from shinshinto, 2 from Oei to Onin period. Previously my experience was sort of the same - these two periods are ripe with unlisted work. Out of the four only one was very much provincial, the other 3 were actually major works of major schools. I would take "no extant swords" with scepticism when talking about Oei to Onin generations. In many cases it means no known nenki to the author at the time the list was compiled, simply because very few swords were produced post Oei till Onin, so the work which in theory might be from this time's generation by default is assumed to be from Tenbun or Oei. Kirill R.
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